Wednesday, September 7, 2016

September 7, 2016 - The First Day #DITL

The following post is a contribution to the Day in the Life Book Project initiated by Tina Cardone:

Today was our first day of school.  I woke up at 5 am, and started the day with a few yoga poses.  I showered and got ready for the day ahead.  My husband made me breakfast, and we both left for work at 6:45.  I arrived to work a litter after 7, and signed in.

At this point, I had about an hour before students would be in my room.  I put the finishing touches on my SMART Notebook presentations for the day and arranged them on my desktop by class period.  I printed out the most up to date rosters, and tidied up while I waited for students to arrive.  My first period began at 8:14 am.  I gave each student a survey to complete and took attendance.  We started class by putting together name tents, and then I began discussing highlights of the syllabus.  My focus was on supplies, grading weights, homework policies, and what to do when students are absent.  I instructed students to read the syllabus over with their parents and sign the contact sheet to return for homework.  We discussed the protocol for emergency drills, and then I did an About Me presentation.  I did one of these two years ago, but didn't do one last year.  I found that I had a much better bond with the classes from two years ago.  We finished the class by answering the questions from the back of the student survey:  "What do you need to be successful?"; "What do you need from your teacher to be successful?"; and "What do you need from your classmates to be successful?"   I collected the surveys and name tents from each student.  I repeated the same process in my second period class that began at 9 am.  Students in both classes were very quiet being that it was the first periods of the first day back.

Third period is my first prep of the day.  It begins at 9:46 and ends at 10:28.  The time in this period goes by so fast.  I had some running around to do.  I picked up items from my mailbox, and deposited a check into the safe.  Then I started going through the student surveys.  I read each survey, then alphabetized them, and put them in a binder organized by class.  This helps me to find any information that I need from the surveys later.

At 10:32 the bell for fourth period rang.  For the fourth and fifth period, I work with a co-teacher.  The courses are the same as first and second period, so they were more repeats.  These classes were more into what we were doing because they were more awake.  In fifth period, we had a very interactive class.  Students asked a ton of questions during our About Us presentation.  In a few classes, we had time to ask students to introduce themselves to the class.  I like to keep the process simple, and I ask that students say their names and state a random fact about themselves.  My class is most likely the first one students have where they're in a mixed grade class, so even though my school is small, not all students know each other in the class.

After fifth period, I have lunch.  This period begins at 12:04 pm, and ends at 12:34.  My school has three staggered lunch periods that last 30 minutes each.  So we technically have a 9 period day, but it doesn't feel that way.  My lunch period is the same as the ninth and tenth graders.  This is beneficial for when my Geometry students need extra help.

I have my last class during sixth period.  This is my new SAT Prep class.  This class meets every other day, so I will have to do the same thing again tomorrow.  The great thing about this class is that I already know all of the students, so I didn't have to do name tents.  We still started with the survey, and then I went through the same highlights in the syllabus.  We talked about the emergency protocols, and I skipped the About Me presentation since they already know me.  We answered the questions on the back of the survey, and then we completed the 100 Numbers Task from Sara Van Der Werf.  The activity was an overall success.  Students enjoyed it, but there were two issues.  The first was that I had a group of three, and the activity is really designed for groups of four.  The pattern does not emerge without a fourth person.  The second issue was that once the pattern was discovered, a group wanted to each highlight all of the numbers in their quadrant to "win".  This class ended at 1:20.

Seventh period is my second prep.  I continued sorting through the student surveys, and during this period I was conveniently visited by my senior class officers.  We briefly discussed our budget, what costs will be incurred this year, the first fundraiser, yearbook, senior t-shirts, and, of course, the senior class trip.  This class ends at 2:06.  The last period of the day is my duty period.  This year, I have hall duty, and it is fabulous.  I love being able to get out of my classroom and talk with students and colleagues in the hall while getting exercise.

After school, I completed organizing my binder with the student surveys.  I reformatted and copied a survey that I am giving to my classes tomorrow, and tidied up my work space before leaving at 4:15.  I returned home after 4:30, and cleaned up and changed before making dinner.  I put dinner in the oven at about 5:30, and sat at the kitchen table and began responding to what students wrote in their name tents.  I multi-tasked, and  finished dinner, clean-up and the name tents all by 8 pm.  Then I started writing this post.

Reflection Questions:
1.  Teachers make a lot of decisions throughout the day. Sometimes we make so many it feels overwhelming. When you think about today, what is a decision/teacher move you made that you are proud of? What is one you are worried wasn’t ideal?

I am proud that I was able to let go a little bit and be flexible about the plans for today.  I wanted to do so many things in addition to what I did today.  I was able to decide during the class period whether or not I would attempt to do the 100 Numbers task in my Geometry and General Geometry classes.  The only thing that was not ideal was that in some class periods I had about 5 minutes without something to do.  In these classes I had students introduces themselves to the class.
2.  Every person’s life is full of highs and lows. Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher. What are you looking forward to? What has been a challenge for you lately?

My favorite part of the day was saying hello to my former students, being greeted with hugs, and catching up on summer happenings.  I really miss my students over the summer.  When I have no contact with them I don't know if they're okay, and I worry about them over the summer.  I'm so glad to be back.
3.  We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is. As teachers we work to build relationships with our coworkers and students. Describe a relational moment you had with someone recently.

Today I began building relationships with my students by telling them some things about me, giving students a survey, and using the name tents.  For right now I am laying the foundation to build relationships with my students.
4.  Teachers are always working on improving, and often have specific goals for things to work on throughout a year.

One goal I have for this year is to incorporate group work regularly.  I've started working toward the goal by arranging my desks in groups, and tomorrow we will set up our group expectations by completing the 100 Numbers task.

5.  What else happened this month that you would like to share?

Since my last Day in the Life post, I've moved in to my new home.  We finally closed on our house two weeks ago, and today we finally got internet.  

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